August 22, 2018 – VTE and Transfusion


Anchor lead: Blood transfusions increase someone’s risk for blood clots, but there are strategies in place to minimize risk, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Blood transfusions around the time of surgery increase someone’s risk of aberrant blood clots twofold, a study by Aaron Tobian and colleagues at Johns Hopkins has shown. Tobian’s previous study showed that a number of strategies are already in place to reduce transfusions and lower risk.

Tobian: We showed that red cell transfusions are down by about 15% over the last few years. There’s increased adherence to restrictive blood transfusion strategies, there’s increased conservation of blood during surgery, such as improved surgical techniques, improved pharmacotherapy, and there’s also been substantial advocacy among medical organizations to only transfuse blood when medically necessary.   :27

Tobian says the current study shows that the more transfusions someone gets the greater the risk, so if you are scheduled for elective surgery addressing this issue with your surgeon is a good idea. Some things can be done before your procedure that may reduce the need for transfusion. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.